DNF Duel Breaks the Modern Focus of eSports Fighting Games
Esports has noticed a significant presence of fighting games. Fighting games are the best in 1v1 competitive play, whereas MOBA and first-person shooter genres dominate in a team-based setting. Many games make up the main stage at major tournaments like Street Fighter V or Guilty Gear Strive. But DNF duel is new to the scene and takes a different approach than its predecessors that old-school players might be familiar with.
DNF Duel, the first significant event, has shown that high-level competitive play is not for the weak of heart. Many swings in momentum, guard breaks, and even one-touch kill combinations keep the action exciting and unpredictable. Characters like the Swift Master, Grappler, Berserker, and Hitman all display a string of insane attacks that seem almost impossible to avoid. This contrasts with the titles above, which take a more balanced approach to fighting.
Accessibility is a crucial feature of many popular fighting games. In interviews with Capcom, Arc System Works discuss their focus on bringing new players to their franchises through various mechanics such as Guilty Gear Strive’s greasignificantage and wall-breaking mechanic. Interview with Marvel Vs. Capcom Infinite reveals that the philosophy of accessibility is much deeper than that. While DNF Duel’s mechanics are simple to grasp, it feels very different when all of it comes together.
DNF Duel is a classic-feeling game. Tekken 7 sticks to its roots, with its Rage mechanic giving characters a decisive move and damage boost at low health. However, the game could still be considered one of the last of its type as it was released in 2015 for arcades. It can also be compared to ArcSys stablemate Dragon Ball FighterZ. This game combines the high-octane Dragon Ball action with tag team fighting, where up to four characters can be displayed at once. Although a tag-team fighter can expect intense fighting, this is not true for most 2D fighting games.
The insane power levels, inexplicable situations, and game-changing Awakening mechanics are all intentional. Awakening’s unique buffs make each character more potent than Tekken Rage, adding depth to an already tension-filled experience. Guard Breaks can be intense and oppressive, similar to the pressure felt in classic titles like Street Fighter Alpha 3.
We see characters like Hitman able to use their Awakening modes to do massive damage in one combo. This is possible by using the extra hits granted to them by entering his low HP status. Although some characters have apparent strengths, the metagame is constantly evolving and becoming more aggressive. The Lost Warrior, the game’s boss character, is perhaps the best example of this evolution.
Top players like Go1, the #1 ranked console gamer, have created Tier lists, with characters like Swift Master, Kunoichi, and Dragon Knight occupying top slots. an offline tournament has shown how mighty Lost Warrior can be. The Grand Finals of the DNF Duel event saw the casters comment on Lost Warrior’s “bad character” and the weaknesses surrounding him. Shahani, the player who used Lost Warrior, wins the tournament using the time-stopping ability of the character.
The skill test for Lost Warrior is a very difficult one. Although the options available to the character are limited and his movement speed slow, he forces an opponent into action by using attacks that can hit from any place on the screen. Lost Warrior can stop time while performing his combos in an Awakening mode for a nearly guaranteed kill. Modern fighting games have a strange concept of balance. DNF Duel’s controls are easy to use, but the gameplay is challenging.
The online ranked mode is a great way to get a feel for the concept. You can skip to a higher rank if you’re an experienced fighter game player. This will place you in a group of people who are mastering these combos. While they can be fun and flashy, it can be challenging to receive them. This can be frustrating for players who have been used to fighting the game balance over the past five to six years.
Although the developers have fixed elements such as infinite combos found in beta testing, DNF Duel certainly challenges the player’s understanding of balance. Although it’s an exciting take on the game and a great way to see it being played in tournaments, the jump to a competitive level can be pretty daunting for anyone looking to play just a few online ranked matches. This is a stark departure from other games that allow a broader audience to get into the more competitive sides of the action. However, the trial mode does a great job of showing players how to maximize their favorite characters’ strengths.
DNF Duel is viewed as a game for the most hardcore of people. While it’s headlined the Arc World Tour 20022 with a $200,000 prize pool, only time will show if this approach of trying to balance everything or nothing will succeed.